Napoleonic, WSS & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Hooptedoodle #462 - Unnecessary Wildlife

 Seasonal update from Chateau Foy: as the weather gets a little warmer, I've been waiting for the appearance of large spiders on the bedroom ceiling. Just harmless UK house spiders, but I really don't care for the big ones; sleep and the known presence of a large spider do not go together well with me.

I am aware that the things are always there somewhere - they spend the winter sleeping down the edges of the carpet, behind the chest of drawers, behind the pictures - all that. The longer I wait for the first one, the more I expect it to be a big one. Being energetically cannibalistic, the kingpin of the month will have been building himself up to full strength by munching his friends and relations, before he finally comes parading on the ceiling.

I have a rather good plastic spider-whacker, and have developed a decent technique - not too much backlift (since the draught from a wild swing will waft the beggar away without damaging him), and just a gentle, quick tap. Yes - I know that I will be condemned for this, but I really can't be doing with them. One quick switch, and then take him to the toilet for swimming lessons. 

Well, rather belatedly, the first one arrived a couple of nights ago, and he was a belter - over 3 inches across his legs. He was on the wall below the coombed ceiling, posing...

"Here I am, ladies - look at me... [WHACK!] ... oh crap..."

  I caught him very nicely with the swatter. He fell to the carpet, and immediately legged it (literally) under the big chest of drawers. That wasn't in the script at all.

This is not good news -  I have sort of developed an understanding of what happens next, through years of experience. What will happen is that after a period of recovery - usually an hour or two - the spider will determinedly resume his trip up onto the ceiling and - especially if he is now a little unwell - he is likely to drop on the bed. All sorts of unpleasant fantasies now take hold.

So I took the Raid insecticide spray from the bottom of the cupboard, and applied a generous skoosh underneath the chest of drawers. That should spoil his equipoise. I switched on the bedside lamps and the TV, made a cup of tea and settled down to wait for the return of my new friend.

Right on cue, he appeared on the ceiling after about 75 minutes, not far from his previous misadventure. He was definitely a bit lop-sided, and staggering a bit. I was ready - whacked him again, finished him off, and took him for swimming lessons. Job done. I tidied up, pleased with the use of the Raid, and slept soundly.

In the morning, as I went to put the Raid back in the cupboard, I was surprised to find that I had mistakenly sprayed the spider with guitar polish instead of insecticide, which, for a street fighter and spider whacker, is not cool at all.

At least I can reassure myself that my first kill of the year must have been gloriously shiny as he met his end. The ladies would have been impressed.

Saturday 4 May 2024

Siege Equipment: ...and some new bits for the ECW...

 Same sort of idea, but today I have been filling a gap in the ECW lineup for sieges.

Again, the artillerymen are by Les Higgins, but the mortars are by Old Glory, which is a first for me. Just the thing for lobbing some very big grenadoes at the Other Lot. Or stones, if the budget is tight. Whatever.

Thursday 2 May 2024

WSS: Siege Equipment - a taste of what is going on in the background

 I'm working away in the evenings, painting up siege pieces and spare gunners. It would be tedious to post much of this stuff, since it is all pretty samey, and not awfully dashing. The working class end of the armies? There is a lot of repainting of items I've had stored away for years - no prizes will be sought.

Here are some examples, now based up and ready to fight. The equipment is deliberately painted up in non-specific brown woodstain, the idea being that it can be loaned out to any army which needs it. The intention is that the gunners will be sort of general-purpose too, though they may divide into French-type and Dutch-allies-type.

Here we have a big gun, which is an old Hinchliffe casting of a siege cannon (which might be rather more comfortable in the SYW, but I don't care) and mortars of two sizes, both supplied by Lancer Miniatures many years later than the Big Hinchie. A sprinkling of my new vaguely-French gunners are happy to pose in the sunshine along with the siege kit. As you might expect of me, they are old Les Higgins figures. If you have a mistrust of any artillery officer who is seen waving his sword a long way away from the enemy, then I have to say I am right with you, but I am too mean to reject perfectly good re-usable officers on the grounds of mere taste. There should be less of that sort of thing as the numbers of gunners grow.

***** Late Edit *****

Further to Ian's comment, here is an extreme example of long-distance sword waving.

This print shows Menno van Coehorn himself, commanding the forces of the United Provinces at the siege of Bonn. Not only is Coehorn a very long way from the enemy here (since the enemy is under siege), but you will observe that Bonn is actually on the other side of the Rhine. 


Hooptedoodle #461 - Another Man Done Gorn

 While I'm on a run of avoiding "me-too" tributes, here's a recollection of a childhood hero of mine, who passed away this week.

Points in its favour?

(1) It was composed by Henry Mancini, which is class by any standards

(2) It helped to enliven what would otherwise have been the most creepy period of American pop music on record [see what I did there?]